Lentils were not popular in the US until World War II, when the government encouraged people to eat lentils, beans, and other vegetables in the place of meat to help the wartime economy.
The government proclaimed, “Food Will Win the War!”, and instituted “Meatless Monday” and “Wheatless Wednesday” to help Americans cut back their food consumption. According to www.meatlessmonday.com, “the effect was overwhelming. Some 10 million families, 7,000 hotels and nearly 425,000 food dealers pledged to observe national meatless days.”
While these efforts were intended to help America win the war, they served another function too. For the first time, Americans paid close attention to their eating habits. According to a 1929 Saturday Evening Post article, “Americans began to look seriously into the question of what and how much they were eating. Lots of people discovered for the first time that they could eat less and feel no worse – frequently for the better”.
Here are a few of the posters that helped unite Americans behind healthier eating habits. Today, eating your lentils may not win a war, but it certainly will make you healthier!